Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday

Baker's knowledge of the game at all levels gives the Wildcat program and Mike Stoops' staff a key operator off the field. He's in his third year on the staff but has an Arizona background dating to playing days decades past.

His understanding of the game plus a career's worth of front-office and street experience helps direct the day-to-day operations and recruiting aspects of the Arizona program. Under his direction Arizona's recruiting has become a systematic and well-researched project resulting in solid evaluation and the signing of players who have helped the program flourish on all levels.

A three-year letterman as an Arizona linebacker in the mid 1970s, Baker went on to coaching or administrative positions in the prep ranks, the Big Ten, the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, Arena Football, the United States Football League and the XFL, plus a few more recent prep stints in the Tucson area.

He is a current member of the American Football Coaches Association and a member of the board of directors of the university's A-Club letter winner's group.

A prep standout at hometown Laramie, Wyo., High School as a linebacker and fullback on two state championship teams, Baker played outside linebacker, center and tight end from 1973 to 1976 at UA, earning letters in 1973, 1975 and 76.

His varsity career matched the tenure of College Football Hall of Fame member Jim Young's coaching career at Arizona. Baker did play freshman ball in 1972 under Bill Belknap when Baker's father, William Sr., was in his second season as the offensive line coach for then head coach Bob Weber in his final year.

After graduation in 1977 as an honor student, Baker was an assistant coach at Rincon High School in Tucson for a season, then joined Young's staff at Purdue as the running backs coach ('78), offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator (1979-82).

Baker then served as a scout for six professional teams - Oakland, Michigan and Arizona of the USFL, and Kansas City, Philadelphia and New Orleans of the NFL - as well as league personnel stints for the Arena Football League and the XFL. He coached the first test game for the Arena league in 1986 and served as an NFL scout for 14 years overall.

He also entered into work with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and continued that evaluation duties until his hiring at UA.

He was a teacher, football and golf coach at Sahuarita, Ariz., High School 2005-06 and a teacher and magnet enrollment recruiter for Tucson High School from 2003-05.

Baker's playing days at UA coincided with some of the great names in the school's history, including All-Americans Jim O'Connor, Theopolis Bell and Mike Dawson, all deceased, and Keith Hartwig. Others on his UA clubs included Bruce Hill, Jon Abbott, Mark Lunsford, Jim Upchurch, Willie Hamilton, Lee Pistor, Ron Beyer, Scott Piper and Rex Naumetz, among many. The UA coaching staffs he played under included assistants Larry Smith, John Mackovic, Bob Bockrath, Willie Peete and Sharkey Price, all well-known names and faces in Arizona football history.

Baker earned his degree in education from UA in 1977 and is working on a master's degree in education leadership from Northern Arizona University.

The Baker File:
Date of birth:	Aug. 2, 1953, Newcastle, Wyo.
High School:	Laramie High School
College:	University of Arizona `77
Playing Experience:	Arizona linebacker 1973/75-76
Family:	Son, Bo
Baker in the Bowls:
1978	Peach Bowl, Purdue coach
1979	Bluebonnet Bowl, Purdue coach
1980	Liberty Howl, Purdue coach
2008	Las Vegas Bowl, Arizona staff